President Barack Obama is less than impressed with President Donald Trump’s claims that the Obama administration wiretapped his phones at Trump Tower before the 2016 election, according to several reports.
Obama “rolled his eyes” at Trump’s allegations, according to a report by NBC News, citing an unnamed source close to Obama. The former president was less concerned about what Trump “tweets at the TV each morning” than the changes his administration have implemented on gun control, health insurance and corporate regulation, per the report.
As for the wiretapping allegations themselves, the source told NBC that Obama does not believe they undermine his integrity, because “he didn’t do it.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that Obama was nevertheless “furious” at Trump’s claims, citing unnamed sources close to Obama.
Trump tried to call Obama to convey his thanks for a letter Obama left for him in the Oval Office, according to tradition, but the two never connected, according to unnamed sources familiar with the matter cited by the Wall Street Journal.
Even before Trump made his unsubstantiated allegations about surveillance on Saturday, he habitually pushed baseless claims and racist conspiracies about Obama.
He claimed in 2011 that Obama’s writing was “about 37 classes below” that of Ernest Hemingway and alleged that former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers actually wrote Obama’s 1995 book Dreams From My Father.
Trump did not stop pushing the so-called “birther” movement, which claimed that Obama was born in Africa so his presidency was illegitimate, until less than two months before the 2016 election.
In exchange, Obama made Trump into a punchline during his remarks at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2011 and 2016. During the presidential election, Obama told Jimmy Kimmel that he laughed at Trump’s 2016 debate performances “most of the time.”
In November, former White House press secretary Josh Earnest nevertheless described the first meeting between Trump and Obama as “a little less awkward” than the media might have imagined.
In a New Yorker profile published a week later, Obama was slightly more equivocal about the meeting.
“I think I can’t characterize it without…” he began, before stopping and saying that he would describe the meeting further “at some point over a beer—off the record.”